Give the customer what they want.

A lot of companies design their customer service experiences around what they think the customer wants. However, companies rarely make an effort to find out what the customer actually wants. While the two (thinks and actually) are often quite similar, there are always going to be differences and disparities.

Surveying customers is a really powerful tool. And you can extend the definition of surveys beyond a formal “check the appropriate box” type survey. Even casual conversations with customers about what they want and expect from the customer service experience is better than just assuming what they want and expect. The goal is to get feedback and ideas, as well as to understand what your customers are thinking.

For example, some companies will kill themselves and try to get response times under 10 or hold time under 1 minute. These are goals that look nice in marketing material and on the resumes of customer service executives, but they may not always mean as much to your customers. It’s very possible that, after surveying, you find out your customers would much rather wait 20 minutes for a response or 5 minutes on hold and get a better initial response or have a call that is less rushed.

Examples like that are typical examples of company goals and customer goals not aligning because the company just isn’t in tune with what the customer wants. Showing an effort to reduce response times and reduce hold times is obviously an effort, but in many cases, that effort could probably be better placed elsewhere.

The reverse can always apply and the preference can always change. If you experience a service outage and customers feel your company didn’t communicate quickly enough, they might change their preference and start to prefer shorter response times instead of better initial responses. Constant surveying and constant conversations with customers will reveal what the preferences are.

And the most important part is to survey as much as you can (without annoying your customers, of course). Ask them about as much as the customer service experience as possible. You can never get too much feedback from your customers.

2 Responses to “Give the customer what they want.”

  1. Susan V. said:

    Jun 25, 08 at 12:02 pm

    Using voice self service for post-call surveys is a great way for companies to secure open, honest and anonymous feedback from customers, or give them the chance to easily opt out. One of Aspect Software’s customers has been using this strategy for quite a while and has realized significantly improved service levels as a result. (More info here:

    I agree that surveys are extremely valuable, but they’re not the only tool that can help you find out what your customers want. Another option is for companies to tightly integrate call recording, quality monitoring and speech analytics. Using these tools, companies can automatically analyze calls so that they can better understand customer concerns and hear agent responses. They can then tailor training to meet the needs of both.

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    Mar 24, 10 at 11:47 pm

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